大泉学園のBée - Boulangerie in Town



One of our favorite boulangeries that is conveniently in town of Oizumi-Gakuen, and when I went to buy some bread this morning, there was a long line of people that extended to outside of the shop. Being a small shop as it is, the queue was just less than 10 people but I've never seen such a scene since it started long years ago. I can guarantee the quality of their whichever bread: loaves, baguettes or hard types that well compare to famous top-class boulangeries, and I guess they now enjoy their success story in business.


フランスパンの店SONKA - Boulanger and Sakura Watching


You go to River Zenpukuji-Ryokuchi for sakura-watching without a lunch-box, in which case a kind-of-niche boulangerie Sonka is nearby. You can eat sandwiches in or buy one to go. I had BLT sandwich with soup. Their bread is short for a baguette but the contrast of crisp skin and inner softness is fabulous. Young mothers showed up one after another with their kids which indicated this store seemed well accepted in the community. The service of a married couple may require some patience on us in terms of efficiency, but they do the honest work and you will surely leave the shop with satisfaction after having had the light meal.

NZ Food - ニュージーランド食材あれこれ

Passing through Wellington, now well-known for coffee shops, I dropped in one of them. This toast was impressive while their cappuccino was ordinary.  
Toast with toasted cheese @Customs Cafe, Wellington
Being invited to the dinner at my friend's home, the feast was these gigantic crayfish directly obtained from a guy who caught them and the size was obviously 2 to 3 times larger than those found in the market.
Giant Crayfish
And its dish
Also from the same hunter!
クイーンズタウン空港でも出店があったPatagonia Chocolate。観光客で賑わう湾岸にて、山から降りてひと時の休息。
Boysenberry Sorbet and Patagonia Dark Chocolate Ice Cream
Oil sardines were handy while I stayed in a motel and also as cheap as NZ$1.40 in the supermarket!
Looking closer, they were from Canada...
Oil Sardine at a Super-market was from Canada
The most popular spot for food in Queenstown would be definitely Fergburger. I had to be in the queue for half and hour to get one: I took it back to my B&B and ate in the terrace for even better atmosphere. The beef was real and the blue cheese seemed the ideal match in the burger with wonderful harmony.


仁右衛門 - Café in Nikko


Visited Nikko last week to watch the autumnal colors, and on our way back to the station, we came across with an interesting café rich with Japanese tastes. At this Niemon, we ordered Matcha (green tea) Latte and Matcha Bavarois both of which were quite satisfying. In the café were displayed various ceramic ware, glasses, and iron pots to amuse our eyes, too.





Favorite Home Dishes - 夏場のお気に入りレシピ





Merci Tout Le Monde

昨日の日曜日は哲学堂のMerci tout le mondeへ行き、KusudaのRiesling、Pinot、Syrahに合わせたフレンチで内輪のディナーを楽しむ。その写真は割愛するが、おまけにクスダ樽で熟成したIchiro's Maltも試飲させてもらう。これはとにかく度が強い酒だった。ボトルを抱えているのが他ならぬ御本人である。

Last Sunday, I went to "Merci Tout Le Monde" near Tetsugakudo to enjoy French dishes coupled with Kusuda Riesling, Pinot and Syrah with intimate group of Kusuda friends. Not only that, we had a chance to taste Ichiro's Malt matured in Kusuda barrel. This malt was so strong! Here, Hiro himself is holding the bottle.


ワインセラーの入れ替え - Retiring Silent Cave CS-32D





やまの時間・清里のハンバーグ - Hamburg Steak in Kiyosato

清里の駅からかなり下ることになるが、ハンバーグの美味しい店ということで『農園レストラン やまの時間』に行ってみた。最初に出て来たサラダの生野菜も美味しかった。ハンバーグのソースは味噌を使った濃厚な味で、肉の方は普通に美味しい。と言うか家庭料理的な感じで、これをもっとガツンと肉の質を競うようなハンバーグにすればさらに満足度は高まるなと思った。飲み物付きで1674円はやや行楽地価格かな。

ストロー・ハットの特注ランチ - Straw Hat's Special Lunch



We came up with the idea to have lunch at Straw Hat on Wednesday and phoned them to book a table the night before. The chef told us that the market was closed on Wednesdays and therefore the dishes could be made only from the material they already had in hand. Our answer was as long as it wouldn't be a single-plate lunch but a compact course of meal instead, it would be fine. Eventually, two dishes were impressive.
One is "Chawan-mushi" which means steamed pot. A slice of cheese was hidden and melted in the bottom, and some Umeboshi in the pudding was a part of harmonious complexity of tastes.

Local Shinshu Salmon marinée was not only beautiful to look at but also fabulous tasting it! On top of a thick slice of salmon were shrimps, tiny dices of various vegetables and herbs: Their crispiness melts with the salmon in your mouth. I should try it myself in my kitchen!


我が家のカトラリーから - My Cutlery

Arno Jacobsen and AMBOSS

上は言わずと知れたGeorg Jensen、さる映画で使われて一躍有名になったAJモデル。むしろ僕にとってのお宝は下の製品。オーストリアのAMBOSSと刻印されており、半世紀くらい前の大昔、僕が学生時代にいくつか集めたヨーロッパの食器類のひとつだ。先端がちょっと欠けてしまっているが、完成度の高い洗練されたデザインだと思う。ティースプーンもあったのだが、それはどこかに消失してしまった。AMBOSSはネット検索しても何も出てこないので、会社そのものが既にないのかも知れない。

Above is Georg Jensen, no need for an introduction about it: This AJ model became so famous as it was used in a futuristic movie. Actually, my true treasure is on the bottom that reads AMBOSS, Austria. I bought it almost a half century ago when I was a university student as one of my small collection of European kitchenware at that time. Purely refined design with perfect simplicity. I also had a teaspoon, but it disappeared. I searched AMBOSS in the net but nothing popped, and I guess the company itself may have disappeared, too.


筍の季節 - Bamboo Shoots' Season


Bamboo shoots are just in season now, and I already cooked it with cabbage and clams last week which was pretty good. So I had no intension today for another bamboo, but the grocery guy appealed theirs came from local Hayama neighborhood and a very good deal, against which I couldn't resist for mere 400 Yen.
The price of bamboo shoot at department stores for renowned ones from Kyoto could be as high as 1500 Yen, or 1000 Yen for one from popular Kyushu area. Ordinary families should stick to the local stores as there is time when they bring them in bulk.


ショコラに狂乱の季節 - Insane Season for Chocolate



まず、Le Chocolat HattのアソートとLa Verdureのオレンジピール。




Roast Beef - ローストビーフ



Sardine, Olive and Baguette - 伊吹島のオイルサーディンなど

鰯ネタつながりということで、ここに登場するのは瀬戸内は伊吹島土産のオイルサーディン: よく太ったイワシです。そして今日はちょうどニュージーランドから楠田さん(Kusuda Wines)の奥様が里帰りついでに自家製オリーブオイルの即売会をアサヒヤさんで催し、熊本支援につなげるというので江古田に立ち寄って1本確保: 上質感あり、色もきれいなオリーブ油。バゲットは大泉学園のBee: 今や★★★をあげたいパン屋さん。豪華さとは別次元に、軽く充実感のあるランチになります。

Sardine topics continue... 
Here is a souvenir gift of oil sardine from Ibuki Island, grown nicely fat. 
Luckily today, Mrs. Kusuda from NZ (Kusuda Wines) happened to be back home with some bottles of their homemade olive oil that were sold in Asahiya Wine shop as a charity activity to support Kumamoto heavily damaged by quake earlier this year. So I contributed a bottle.
And the baguette is from Boulangerie Bée in Oizumi-Gakuen that I would rate three-stars, no doubt about it. 
Nothing gorgeous but light and blissful lunch in the different direction!




On my way to Tsumagoi, I stopped by at Tsuruya in Naka-Karuizawa which is a local super-market but its space is rather huge for the area and it appears as if "Kinokuniya for Karuizawa". Lots of veges/products are from local farmers while they line up their own frozen dishes that are excellent. The wide selection of wines starts from 300-400 Yen Spanish. Its difference in items and atmosphere makes the shopping fun. 
Luckily, rare-to-find Meigetsu apples were on sale, so I got a pack. The blueberry jam is local, and the oil sardine is from Croatia (if you are interested).


Rituel par Christophe Vasseur - 青山のリチュエル


I went to Shibuya to watch a movie and conveniently extended my excursion to Aoyama to visit a boulangerie. It came from Paris, called Rituel which is a branch of "Du Pain et des Idées". I bought croissants and a chausson aux pommes as a try. They don't have the kind like baguettes, and on the display were mostly sweet pastries except pain demi. A croissant costs 3 Euros (350 Yen) which is almost a double of typical price among known bakeries. The wrapping is excessive, too, and I tend to judge this is a shop for celebrities. Still, their reputed Pain des Amis is truly authentic.


Boulangerie Yamashita - 二宮のパン屋さん

そのパン屋はBoulangerie Yamashitaと言って、大磯の先、二宮の吾妻山公園に向かう道中にある。外からは何屋さんか分からない構えで、つい見過ごしてしまいそう。今日はご覧のようなパンを仕入れて即Uターンしたが、飲み物を注文してここで食べることもできるので、チャリ走の途中で休憩場所としても使える。何とも優しい食感は生地の肌理がすごく細かいからで、ちょっと幸せな気分にしてくれる。丁寧な手作りの賜物ですね。2年前のオープンだそうです。http://www.boulangerieyamashita.com

I ran my bike for 1 hour to shop some bread. Boulangerie Yamashita is located on the way to Azumayama Park in Ninomiya beyond Oiso, but it may be easily overlooked as you cannot see what business they run from its exterior. I bought three kinds of bread today and quickly ran back home, but you can order some drinks and eat in the boulangerie as well, so it would be a good spot to rest during the exercise.
The immediate impression of mildness may be because of its very fine texture, contrary to country styles, and it brings us a sense of happiness: A very nice gift from careful craftsmanship. 
This boulangerie started 2 years ago.


岩鋳のフライパン - Iron Frying Pan by Iwachu


I bought a cast iron frying pan made in renowned Nanbu area. I have used Circulion, Meyer and else, but Teflon-coated pans wear in a year or two forcing me to replace with a new one each time, and there is a joke-like rumor that says somebody is questioning the safety of Teflon, so it should be a good opportunity to trigger goodbye to Teflon pans as my T-fal is just wearing out.
But the actual choice of a practical pan is not easy: I ended up with a rather small product with 21cm diameter by Iwachu. I have another Iwachu's that is 20cm Tempura casserole and could be possibly shared as a frying pan as far as the size is concerned. But the handle makes the job different. Actually, this handle gets very hot and you cannot do without a grove. Sautéing vegetables on the other hand proceeds in much better quality. Flipping the stuff by hoisting the pan is not practical and almost impossible with this weight. The same product of 24cm diameter may be a better fit universally, but I thought it would be too heavy, physically and economically, in my case. So it's a compromise.


Tarte au Pomme - リンゴのタルト


I came across with some apples being sold off at a grocery, so I thought of making some sweets. This apple tarte recipe is from the book "Sweets that Artists loved". Interestingly, it used little sugar, and I substituted it with honey. I wasn't sure frankly, but it came out with the right sweet and sour balance.